You matter.

My heart is saddened tonight.

Earlier today, a little behind the curve, I learned of the loss of a beautiful 15-year-old girl. I didn't know her personally, I'd never had the opportunity to meet her.

And I never will.

But I knew a few of those who knew her. Those who loved her and whose hearts are breaking for her.

My heart breaks for them and for her. For the future she no longer has. And for all of those like her who feel they can't go on, who are seeking relief from their struggles.

Every 13 minutes, another life in the United States is no more because of suicide.

In September, I wrote about a lady named Kelly who had answered God's call. She moved from her home in Harrodsburg to Gordon, Nebraska. It's a town that borders the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The reservation, or Rez for short, is a place full of family and history. It's also a place full of heartache.

It's a place where jobs are limited and futures are difficult and hard-fought.

"Some days are very heavy with tears from those who just need to open up. Some days are full of laughter with teens getting the chance to just 'be,'" She told me during our interview. "It's heavy. Really heavy. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Suicide, Kelly shared with me in September, is a common problem on the Rez. The teens are faced with it, with depression and extreme sadness.

"Suicide rates for American Indian youth between the ages of 10-15 are four times higher than those for all other races combined in this age group." - Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, or SAVE.
 "In 2013, the highest U.S. suicide rate (14.2) was among Whites and the second highest rate (11.7) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives." - The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Tonight, Kelly and I chatted a bit on Facebook, as I learned of the loss of her dear young friend, a girl who had become like a daughter to her. She asked me, as she has mentioned before to me and shouted from the rooftops of life, how to break the cycle — how to bring the issues to light.

And I pondered that. I pondered why it is so difficult to talk about suicide and depression.

Why do we hide from it? Why can't we talk about it? Why can't we shout it from the rooftops and in the valleys and through every high school, middle school and elementary school in every city, town and region in this country?

Why do we wait until something happens to get mad about it? I'm just as guilty as the next person. I'm just as guilty to get lost in the "tough" parts of my life, to get distracted and bogged down.

At some point, we have to stop it. We have to stand up and say enough is enough. We are losing too many teens, too many adults, too many elderly, too many mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers and sons.

If you know someone who is struggling in their life, reach out to them. Don't give up on them. Don't stop caring. Don't stop asking.

Make sure they know they matter. Make sure they know their future matters. Make sure they don't give up.

Learn the signs.

Get help. Get them help.

Don't give up.

If you are reading this and you are considering suicide:

I beg you to reach out. Ask for help. Scream for it. Don't give up on yourself and don't give up on those around you.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you think there's not a single person in the world that loves you, I'm telling you now that isn't true. I love you. I may not know you. I may never meet you, but I love you. You are important. You have a purpose in life. Someone, somewhere, someday, needs you. They need to you told hold on and reach out.

You never know what your future may hold. It may seem desolate and unbearable and impossible, but just hold on. You are loved. You matter.

Remember. Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.

God created you for a beautiful purpose. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by the one who made the world and holds it in its place, the one who holds the stars in the sky, the one who gave us the sun and the moon, sunrises and sunsets.

You matter. Your life matters.

Another great organization fighting to save lives is To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA works to connect people to resources and is making a difference in the lives of those around the world. They have a great list of ways to find help in many battles.

Get help. You matter.


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